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Heart Healthy
The Heart is an important organ that pumps blood throughout your body.  Blood carries oxygen and very important nutrients to the whole body. 

Therefore it is very important to have a healthy heart that runs smoothly. Having a healthy heart is the best way to live healthy and live happy.

How to keep a Healthy Heart:
Heart Healthy Diet

  • Limit Saturated Fats and Bad Cholesterol: These cause buildup of plaque in your arteries which increase your risk of heart attack.
  • Reduce Sodium: A diet high in sodium increases blood pressure and can lead to high blood pressure which increases your risk of heart attack.
  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: These are low in calories and high in dietary fiber.  This means feed your hunger without all the calories. Fruits and Veggies also contain many heart healthy nutrients only found in plants that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Eat More Whole Grains: These are high in dietary fiber and contain nutrients that regulate blood pressure and reduce risk of heart disease.
  • Eat Low-Fat Protein: Lean meats, poultry and fish contain protein without all the fat and bad cholestorol. Fish such as salmon and tuna contain high levels of Omega-3 that may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Heart Healthy Lifestyle

  • Do Not Smoke: The most important thing you can do for your overall health is to not smoke.  Smoking increases blood pressure and blood clot formation, while decreasing oxygen intake and good cholesterol.  Not Smoking or Quitting are will greatly reduce your risk for heart disease.
  • Do More Physical Activity: Having an active lifestyle has many benefits, especially for your heart. Physical activity helps control weight, increase flexibilty, decrease cholesterol, increase heart output, build muscle, burn fat, and much more.  Just 30 minutes a day decreases risk of heart disease.
  • Manage Stress: The demands that we put on ourselves also affect our heart.  Stress can raise blood pressure and our resting heart rate, which put can wear down the heart over time.  Using effective stress relieving techniques can reduce your risk of heart attack and high blood pressure.
  • Be Positive: Having a positive outlook on life is important to your overall wellness and has an impact on heart health.  A positive, calm and collected attitude decreases blood pressure, decreases resting heart rate, and decreases stress on the heart in stressful situations.  Being positive is a great way to insure a healthy heart.

Although these risk factors can be addressed it is important to talk to your doctor.  Some heart problems cannot be controlled because of age and famliy history, but early detection can give you a wide range effective of treatment options. It is important to realize that when it comes to your heart health it is never too early or too late to start decreasing your risk. 

Smoking Cessation
“Smoking cigarettes tops the list as the  most important preventable major risk factor of our #1 killer - heart and blood vessel disease.”  -American Heart Association

Use this wonderful resource that is FREE to you and your loved ones in Texas.
Texas Quitline

Effects of Quitting After…

20 minutes - Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

12 hours - The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months - Your circulation and lung function improves.

1 year - Your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 years - Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker.

10 years - Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a continuing smoker; risks of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.

 Tips to Quit

Prepare - Pick a date to quit and stick to it.  Make your words mean something when you say, “I quit.”

Build a Support System - Notify all your friends, family and co-workers about your quit attempt and ask them not to smoke around you.

Learn New Skills and Habits - Distract yourself from tobacco cravings by staying busy.

Take Advantage of Available Medications and Use Them Correctly - Try an over-the-counter quitting aid approved by the Federal Drug Administration.  These include nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges.

Prepare for Relapse or Challenging Times - Like anything in life, quitting smoking takes practice.  You can do it!  Stay positive.  If you fall off, get back on!

Stress Management
Common responses to stress are listed below. Think about how stress affects you.

Aches and Pains
• Headache
• Backache
• Neck ache
• Stomach ache
• Tight muscles
• Clenched jaw

Energy Level and Sleep
• Feeling tired without a good reason
• Trouble sleeping

• Anxiety
• Anger
• Depression
• Helplessness
• Out of control
• Tense

How Do You Respond?
When you are under stress, do any of these behaviors apply to you?
• I eat to calm down.
• I speak and eat very fast.
• I drink alcohol or smoke to calm down.
• I work too much.
• I delay doing the things I need to do.
• I sleep too little, too much or both.
• I try to do too many things at once.

Engaging in even one of these behaviors may mean that you are not dealing with stress as well as you could.

Tips for Dealing with Stress from John Hammarley
Positive Self-Talk
Self-talk is one way to deal with stress. We all talk to ourselves; sometimes we talk out loud but usually we keep self-talk in our heads. Self-talk can be positive ("I can do this" or "Things will work out") or negative ("I'll never get well" or "I'm so stupid").
Negative self-talk increases stress. Positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress.
To help you feel better, practice positive self-talk every day — in the car, at your desk, before you go to bed or whenever you notice negative thoughts.

Having trouble getting started? Try positive statements such as these:
• "I can get help if I need it."
• "We can work it out."
• "I won't let this problem get me down."
• "Things could be worse."
• "I'm human, and we all make mistakes."
• "Some day I'll laugh about this."
• "I can deal with this situation when I feel better."

Remember: Positive self-talk helps you relieve stress and deal with the situations that cause you stress.

Emergency Stress Stoppers
There are many stressful situations — at work, at home, on the road and in public places. We may feel stress because of poor communication, too much work and everyday hassles like standing in line. Emergency stress stoppers help you deal with stress on the spot.

Try these emergency stress stoppers. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations and sometimes it helps to combine them.
• Count to 10 before you speak.
• Take three to five deep breaths.
• Walk away from the stressful situation, and say you'll handle it later.
• Go for a walk.
• Don't be afraid to say "I'm sorry" if you make a mistake.
• Set your watch five to 10 minutes ahead to avoid the stress of being late.
• Break down big problems into smaller parts. For example, answer one letter or phone call per day, instead of dealing with everything at once.
• Drive in the slow lane or avoid busy roads to help you stay calm while driving.
• Smell a rose, hug a loved one or smile at your neighbor.

Finding Pleasure
When stress makes you feel bad, do something that makes you feel good. Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to fight off stress.
You don't have to do a lot to find pleasure.

Try to do at least one thing every day that you enjoy, even if you only do it for 15 minutes.
• Start an art project (oil paint, sketch, create a scrap book or finger paint with grandchildren).
• Read a favorite book, short story, magazine or newspaper.
• Have coffee or a meal with friends.
• Play golf, tennis, ping-pong or bowl.
• Sew, knit or crochet.
• Listen to music during or after you practice relaxation.
• Take a nature walk — listen to the birds, identify trees and flowers.
• Make a list of everything you still want to do in life.
• Watch an old movie on TV or rent a video.
• Take a class at your local college.
• Play cards or board games with family and friends.

Daily Relaxation
Relaxation is more than sitting in your favorite chair watching TV. To relieve stress, relaxation should calm the tension in your mind and body. Some good forms of relaxation are yoga and meditation. Like most skills, relaxation takes practice. Many people join a class to learn and practice relaxation skills.

Deep breathing is a form of relaxation you can learn and practice at home using the following steps. It's a good skill to practice as you start or end your day. With daily practice, you will soon be able to use this skill whenever you feel stress.
1. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap or lie down. Close your eyes.
2. Picture yourself in a peaceful place. Perhaps you're lying on the beach, walking in the mountains or floating in the clouds. Hold this scene in your mind.
3. Inhale and exhale. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply.
4. Continue to breathe slowly for 10 minutes or more.
5. Try to take at least five to 10 minutes every day for deep breathing or another form of relaxation.

More information about Stress Management and other healthy tips can be found on the American Heart Association website at
Stroke Prevention
What is stroke?
A stroke or “brain attack” occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery (a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body) or a blood vessel (a tube through which the blood moves through the body) breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When either of these things happen, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs.

What are the signs and symptoms of a stroke?
Common stroke symptoms include:
• Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg- especially on one side of the body.
• Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Always remember to act F.A.S.T. Use this test for recognizing and responding to stroke symptoms.
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence (e.g. “It’s sunny today”. Are their
words slurred? Can the person repeat the sentence correctly?)
Time: If the person shows any symptoms, time is important. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Reducing your risk for stroke:
Prevention guidelines (click on a topic to learn more):
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
Know your cholesterol number.
Control your diabetes.
Enjoy a lower sodium (salt), lower fat diet. Consult a physician before beginning any diet plan.

Urinary Tract Infections
What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
When bacteria enter the bladder through the urethra causing inflammation and infection. This condition can be preventable by practicing good personal hygiene; drinking plenty of fluids; and if medication is prescribed, take ALL of the required dosage.

What are the signs & symptoms of a UTI?
A strong, persistent urge to urinate; a burning sensation when urinating; passing frequent, small amounts of urine; urine that appears cloudy; urine that appears bright pink or cola colored-a sign of blood in the urine; strong-smelling urine (ammonia smell); pelvic pain, in women; rectal pain, in men; change in behavior; elevated temperature; elevated blood sugar in diabetics.

The Heart and Stroke Healthy City Recognition Program is based on proven interventions that have made a significant difference in increasing physical activity and better eating habits, as well as reducing tobacco use, and decreasing response time to heart attacks and strokes.

1. Cardiovascular disease and stroke ongoing public information campaigns are provided in the community.
2. Physical activity areas are designated, safe, accessible and promoted.
3. Healthy food options are accessible and promoted.
4. Public schools (grades K-8) comply with all legislated components of a coordinated school health program and daily physical activity and high schools offer an evidence-based health curriculum. Worksite wellness programs are available to the majority of employees.
5. A comprehensive tobacco control program is in place that includes a 100 % smoke free city smoking ordinance.
6. A plan is in place to reduce disparities in CVD and stroke.
7. Training programs are in place to improve the rate of bystander CPR and use of AEDs.
8. Defibrillators (Manual and/or Automated External) are available to first responders and the emergency system of care maintains a rapid response time for cardiac events.
9. Stroke is treated as a medical emergency in the community and appropriate acute stroke treatment protocols are in place.
10. Health Sites in the Community Promote Primary and Secondary Prevention of CVD and Stroke.

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